…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Some Things Are Bigger Than We Are

And Some Things Are Not

By Rex Goode



Northern Pacific Class A Locomotive (1938)

Life is often about dealing with things that we didn’t plan. No matter how carefully you do plan, you can always count on some kind of opposition. In Latter-day Saint theology, this is a fundamental part of how we view life. We often quote from one of our scriptures that says, “There must needs be an opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11)…”

We believe it strongly because we can all attest that nothing ever seems to be easy. We are constantly battling forces that seem intent on destroying or hindering our plans. It is one of the most annoying things about being human. I frequently find myself asking, “Why can’t something be easy for a change?”

Though I ask it often, I rarely get an answer back, not from myself, and not from heaven. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t answer because he knows I already know the answer. It’s a rhetorical question born out of a momentary frustration.

You’d think that after 58 years on earth, I’d be used to it, but I’m not. I’m constantly striving to get ahead, to have something work right the first time, or to just relax and let good things flow to me.

This doesn’t mean that everything results in a struggle. Some things do indeed come to me without much effort. I find that there are as many forces in the world that are on my side as there are that are against me. In fact, I’ve got infinitely more going for me than I have going against me.

Many of these forces you can influence and use. We are created with intellect, talents, and powers that, when used for good, result in good. Work hard, earn a living. That’s usually the way it goes. For some people, it goes more easily. For others, it’s a struggle.

There are other kinds of forces that are not so easily controlled, and many that can’t be resisted. Hurricanes come to mind.

I recently visited the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation in Portland. They have there a few old locomotives—enormous, iron beasts that once pulled cars around the Pacific Northwest. There used to be a sign next to one of them that said, “Try to push me over.” It would have been impossible for any one human being to do it. I gave it a half-hearted effort, just for fun.

Locomotives are not quite as big anymore, but I still wouldn’t recommend standing on a track when one is coming. The thing is bigger than you are and it’s power is greater than yours, for the most part.


Barney and Paco–Two Things Smaller Than Me

The forces in our lives, whether bigger or smaller than we are must be reckoned with. Some things you can avoid, like challenging a train. Other things can come upon you with no warning and destroy things around you.

It’s almost trivial to say, but what’s really important is how you deal with these forces and their effects on you. As long as we have breath, we have power, God-given resources deep in our soul. Even when the force is going to take our lives, we can face it with grace.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned when it comes to forces beyond my control is to focus more on my spiritual gifts than on what happened to me. This is different than when I was young.

As a survivor of child abuse, I succumbed for years to someone bigger than me who had a more powerful personality. After the abuse ended, I still carried around a lot of ideas that were the natural consequence of having been treated the way I was, but it wasn’t so natural to cling to those ideas and let them hold me back.

It’s a short trip from being the victim of someone or something bigger than yourself to being a victim of yourself, or more specifically, a victim of who you think you are. The most oft-repeated excuse in life is, “That’s just the way I am.”

For some time, I chanted that refrain much to my detriment and discomfort. This victim mentality is hazardous to body, mind, and spirit. It is the most unfortunate result of having suffered abuse. Part of being abused is being subjected to the justifications of the abuser who likely delivered those justifications in the form of blaming you.

When we start to think that the reason we make bad choices is because we were abused, we move from having been the real victim of abuse to being the victim of our own nature, as we perceive our nature to be. Once we enter the realm of believing that we can’t help but make bad choices because we were abused, we are on our own road to further tragedy. This is because whether you make a bad decision because you want to do wrong or you make a bad decision because you were programmed by an abuser, you will still suffer the same consequences. The reason wrong is wrong is because it hurts people including yourself.

While we may not be able to stop a force bigger than ourselves from hurting us, we can free ourselves from the grip of a victim orientation in life. We can shed the “that’s just the way I am” mentality. We do this by focusing more on those spiritual powers we were given, because even if something is more powerful than we are, God is more powerful than anything else. This power of God also includes the spiritual powers we inherited from him, our Father.

One of the greatest powers we possess is the power of acceptance—accepting that there are things more powerful than we are and that opposition is a power in our lives that has one purpose. It reveals to us who we really are. Rather than telling ourselves that we make choices because “that’s the way I am”, we can tell ourselves, “this trial will help me become who I was meant to be.”


5 people like this post.

5 Responses to “Some Things Are Bigger Than We Are”

  1. Colleen Naqshbandi said:

    As always I am proud of you and love you and your family. Wish we lived closer. You have my love and wholehearted approval. Aunt Iona

  2. Denise said:

    Beautifully written. I love you, your example, and all that you have risen above and accomplished. May you continue to reach out and touch the lives of others. You DO make a difference !

  3. Rex Goode said:

    Wow, Denise! Thanks so much!

  4. Rex Goode said:

    Thank, Aunt Iona. It means a lot to me.

  5. Peaceable Fruit – Northern Lights said:

    […] wrote about some of this in a recent essay on my own blog, “Some Things Are Bigger Than We Are.” Here, I’m exploring another aspect of […]

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